Portland woman demands action after brush fire nearly torches her home

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 5:22 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - It was a close call for a homeowner after a brush fire in Southeast Portland on Sunday night. Investigators say they do not know what caused the fire yet, but did acknowledge a nearby encampment.

Portland Fire & Rescue says this fire started just before 11:00 p.m. Sunday night behind the Winco at Southeast 82nd Avenue and Powell Boulevard.

A spokesperson for Portland Fire says the exact cause is undetermined and mentioned this is an area with high transient activity.

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Homeowner Rachel Ayers tells FOX 12 she had just gotten home from grocery shopping and saw flames as high as 20 feet. Rachel has about a dozen ducks and chickens in her backyard as well, and says, had she gotten back five minutes later, the damage could have been a lot worse.

“Immediate fear for them, fear for our house, it’s our first home that we’ve ever bought. I mean, if this tree caught on fire our house would be gone,” said Ayers.

Portland Fire & Rescue got the fire under control just in time, but some serious damage was already done.

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“Our entire fence burned, we had a grapevine that burned, we had trees that burned, and then whatever furniture that people had left there is burned.”

Portland Fire says investigators don’t have a cause right now and Ayers shared photos showing what appeared to be remnants of a small camp just days before the fire. Portland Fire also reported that a heavy amount of debris had been burned nearby as well. While it is unclear if this was in fact caused by an encampment, Ayers says the city needs to do more to combat camping in areas that could be prone to fires.

“There are clear issues here,” said Ayers. “I just don’t want our community to have to pay for it.”